Volume 57 Issue 12 December 2007

Simon Goldhill explains how he came to be hooked on Greek tragedy at an early age – and has stayed hooked.

The man who wrote the words of 'Hark! the Herald Angels Sing', 'Love Divine, All Loves Excelling' and hundreds of other much-loved hymns was born on December 18th, 1707.

The small logging town was chosen as the country's new capital on December 31st, 1857

On December 12th, 1907, Lenin fled Russia for a second time.

Mark Bryant looks at the first political cartoon – and one of the most influential ever – to be published in America.

The story of the British anti-slavery and abolitionist movements has been dominated by the figures of Clarkson and Wilberforce. Yet, the success of the Slave Trade Act of 1807 and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 benefited from the votes of Irish MPs. Christine Kinealy shows how Daniel O’Connell, Irish campaigner for Catholic Emancipation and Repeal of the Act of Union, played a prominent role in the anti-slavery movement.

Martin Evans recalls the ‘third way’ of Cold War international politics, now all but forgotten.

In the years before the English Civil War, ecclesiastical architecture became a subject of powerful conflict between the rival wings of the Church. Edward Swift, winner of the 2006 Royal Historical Society/History Today Undergraduate Award, looks at the patronage of John Cosin, a leading supporter of Archbishop Laud in County Durham.

Captain Crispin Swayne describes his work on major feature films as a historical and military adviser, and what he hopes to achieve.

In the late 18th century, a French invasion force marched into Portugal. Napoleon was insisting that Portugal must close its ports to British shipping. When it failed to comply, the invading army was given orders to march on Lisbon and seize the royal family. The Queen and her family fled to Brazil, and by this time, Maria I of Portugal had been insane for more than fifteen years. 

A century ago international anarchists were causing public outrage and panic with their terror tactics. Matt Carr considers the parallels with al-Qaeda today.

Dietrich Karsten was a Protestant pastor who opposed the Nazi regime in the 1930s but died for Hitler as a soldier in the war. His granddaughter, Lena Karsten, enlisted the help of film-maker Tony Wilson and historian Gabriel Fawcett to find his grave and tell his story. The result is a powerful feature documentary Confessions of a German Soldier. Lena Karsten gives an insight into what she discovered.

Charlotte Crow describes how a recent visit to India on the 150th anniversary of the Indian Mutiny became a flashpoint for Indians and Britons over the commemoration by the two nations.

Clive Foss introduces the Kharijites, a radical sect from the first century of Islam based in southern Iraq and Iran, who adopted an extreme interpretation of the Koran, ruthless tactics and opposed hereditary political leadership. After causing centuries of problems to the caliphate, they survive in a quietist form in East Africa and Oman.

Patricia Cleveland-Peck visits the Big Apple in search of its blossoming.

Two major museums open new permanent galleries this month, offering new light on our past.

Patricia Cleveland-Peck visits an annual festival of North American history and culture.

Alison Barnes explains our special fondness for the Christmas legend.

Carola Hicks takes a seasonal look at the stained glass of King’s College Chapel, Cambridge, the subject of her new book.

Bystanders, victims and perpetrators: the tripartite categorization has become a cliché of historical analysis of the horrors of the past.